Saturday, June 12, 2021

A June Country Drive


Hello, Dear Friends, now that our little corner of the world

 is beginning to return to normal, 

we feel more comfortable in venturing out for some relaxing

country drives. 

So come along with me as Ramblin' Man and I take to roads less traveled,

here along the foothills of the Cascade mountains in Washington State.  


Our spring and early summer have abundant rainfall and mild temperatures, 

turning everything lush and green. 



"Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all

come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.

- Steve Maraboli -



Mt. Rainier supervises an early hay harvest. 

xx

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap

but by the seeds you plant."

- Robert Louis Stevenson -



We turn in to a picnic area for lunch, along the same creek 
that runs at the base of our little mountain a few miles upstream.

This is a salmon stream that originates in the Cascades near Mt. Rainier. 
On quiet evenings when the water is high after snowmelt or storms,
 the rushing water sounds eerily like 
phantom voices from some far-off crowd.

A conference of water and nature spirits telling their tales? 



 This vintage railway bridge is now part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy 
The goal, locally, is to have a trail that goes all the way from Puget Sound to Mt. Rainier. 
Years of dedication have brought it up this far. 


The old roadway bridge. 


It's lovely to sit and listen to the gentle gurgling, singing birds, 
and fresh, springtime breezes whispering through the trees. 

"The earth has music for those who listen."
- William Shakespeare -





I try to imagine what secrets these ancient trees hold. 


Purple dead-nettle - a wild mint. 


We had the grounds all to ourselves except for the occasional 
dog-walker. 
xx

"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is
more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug."

- Helen Keller -


How Green was my Valley. ( The title of one of my favorite books)


It's always a little disconcerting to come around 
the corner and meet up with one of these. 
We live in a logging community. 



Buttercup 
xx



"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder -


White Hawthorn grows wild here, spread by birds who love the red berries 
that form after flowering. 

Wetlands, still sporting dried grasses and reeds.

  Red-tinged leaf buds on tall black cottonwood. 

If you take a right-hand turn before the first hill and follow it up two miles, 
you will come to our mountain home. 

But we are not ready to go home quite yet, so let's continue on!

xx 

"Going to the mountains is like going home."

- John Muir -



We pass century-old cottages as we drive through town. 



Ancient Kwanzan cherry trees blanket the ground with petals. 




The historic school has been restored to serve as administration offices. 
My children attended this school district and now three of my grandchildren
will attend, also. 


We briefly take the two-lane mountain highway that runs through town
and are passed by at least 100 motorcycles! 
A scenic drive, but rain-showers obscure mountain views. 


This old farm has been abandoned for as long as I can remember. 
It has such wonderful patina. 


Mt. Rainier is hidden behind the clouds here. 


"I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains,
trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy.'

- Sylvia Plath - 


We drive through a sudden squall. 
The weather is so fickle this time of year. 
One minute it is raining and gray, the next, the sun is shining. 


But with the rain, there are sometimes rainbows :)


The 'traffic' along the back roads. 


The 'locals'. 



And if you need a place to stay...
xx






Some lovely and well-maintained rural properties. 

If you could bottle peacefulness, this would be it. 


Several modes of transportation intersect right here. 


I think we've all felt like birds on a wire this year, holding on 
through stormy skies. 
xx

" Use what talents you possess: the woods would be 
very silent if no birds sang there except those 
that sang best."

- Henry van Dyke -


Clearing skies as the sun starts to set. 


The winds of change are always blowing. 



"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."

- Henry David Thoreau - 


The end of a lovely day. 

I hope that you enjoyed coming along on our country drive, Dear Friends. 



Wishing you sweet dreams.

xoxo


" We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we 
borrow it from our children."

Native American Proverb









Sunday, May 23, 2021

May Days




 Hello, Dear Friends, here we are, almost all the way through the month 
of May, as time flies by on gossamer wings. 

The sun is setting at just the right angle to create 
rainbows in the mist over the mountains.


It has been very cool and rainy here. 
We've had hail, thunder and a fresh dusting of snow in the foothills. 

This was after a couple of weeks of summer-like weather
where temperatures climbed to near 80 degrees. 

Every day is a new surprise. 

"You can nearly always enjoy things
if you make up your mind firmly that you will."

- Anne of Green Gables -

xx

I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! 
It seems so long ago, but it was just a couple of weeks ago. 
Does anyone else feel like time is speeding up these days? 


My sweet Mr. built me this beautiful plant ladder for
Mother's Day. He even picked out all of the plants! 


He also made these planter boxes for all the sweet Mom's 
in our life. 

Now that my whole family is vaccinated, we were able to 
celebrate Mother's Day with my grandson's birthday, all together,
 the day before. 

I have to admit, it was a bit overwhelming after being 
 isolated for so long! I have five grandson's under the age of six
which makes for some beautiful chaos, but those hugs
and smiles from my family were so wonderful
and I was so filled with gratitude that we all 
made it through this terrible time. 
Too many have not been so lucky
and my heart truly goes out to them. 


I even got to go to my first Mother and Grandmother's day 
celebration at my grandson's pre-school. The students performed 
a sweet song and decorated picture frames for photos that were taken. 

 I helped bake cupcakes and make cards for his Mom (my daughter, Heather). 
The flowers were made with cupcake liners and buttons.
(He made some for his little twin brothers to give, too). 
xxoo


I spent Mother's Day with my baby grandson 
and my daughter, Jennie. Here I am snuggling him as he slept in my arms. 
Her husband is a Captain in the Fire Dept. and duty called, so 
I had the privilege of having them all to myself.





 She ordered this amazing charcuterie board from a local company, 
which came with a loaf of artisan bread and some crackers. 

We stuffed ourselves and had leftovers to enjoy for a few days. 

I was thoroughly spoiled by my whole family with flowers,
gifts and lots of love. 





We stopped by the cemetery to bring flowers to my Mom. 
She's with my Dad who served in the Korean War.
What I wouldn't give for one more day...

We took a little stroll along the tree-line and saw a bunny
and some pretty wildflowers.  
It is such a peaceful and solemn place surrounded 
by forest, with a view of Mt. Rainier. 

I love reading the epitaphs. Some are humorous, some 
are profound, but all declare love of family, God and country. 
xx



Kai in the Forget-me-nots. 
They have seeded themselves everywhere
from one little plant I bought at a church
  sale years ago. 

I love private plant sales. 
You can always find the best plants for the region at these. 


The lilacs are blooming outside my sewing room window.
This is a second-floor window, so you can see how tall
they are!  

I open the window to catch the wonderful scent. 


I've had this African violet on the window-sill for years, 
but it was out-growing it's pot and needed dividing.



I found this sweet little 'cottage' pot in storage
and thought it would be perfect. 

My sis gave me the framed print. 


The 'cottage' has an open front door and shuttered windows. 


The back door has a kitty on the stoop. 

I am a bit of a hoarder, but now that 
we are retired and on a fixed income, 
it is nice to have a little inventory 
of special things to fall back on. 


The original plant came in this vintage flower-girl basket
with the fairy graphics. I found it at a flea-market. 
I sure do miss going to those!
I hope we can enjoy these again, soon.  

xx



While I was in my sewing room, I decided to sew
a few lavender sachets.
The 'sewing basket' is actually a needle book. 


 


I also sewed a pillow from ticking with a narrow lace trim
and crocheted a 'flower' dish cloth. 





I put them all together with one of my tin can decoupaged 
'wildflower' vases as a birthday gift for a dear loved one.

Time spent in quiet contemplation 
 in my sewing room, really does mend the soul. 








I've tried to restyle the mantel, recently. 
The twine spools and dough bowl were
gifts from my daughter, Heather.
My son, Dustin and wife, Jen gave me the rusty candle holder. 
My sis gave me the ceramic bird.  
The giant nail is Ramblin' Man's find. 
xx

A mantel always seems to be a work in progress. 




The beautiful tote was a gift from my son, Gabe and wife, Erica. 
It's perfect for my crochet projects. 


We put out the umbrella's and a tablecloth to enjoy 
whatever little glimpse of sunshine we manage to get. 
My daughter, Jennie gave me the hanging basket. 


My son, Dustin and wife, Jen gifted me with the beautiful 
blue and white pot. It came with a different plant, 
a monarda, but I transplanted it into a large pot, 
as it grows to over 2 ft. tall. 

I'll show that to you when it blooms. 


The Angel gets a pansy to watch over. 



Can you see my little friend by the church steeple?


A Pacific tree frog. Isn't he cute? He likes it here
with flowers to hide in and the porch lights to attract lots of bugs. 


Like this guy. 
Look how beautiful the patterns on his wings are. 

Who knows what wisdom nature holds. 
Certainly each living thing is an amazing creation and a work of art. 
I think of how intricate and astounding each creature, each being is, 
and how fragile we all are in this sometimes unforgiving world. 

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are 
to find out about?"

- Anne of Green Gables -




I potted up coral tuberous begonia for my library window box. 
I nestled in some blue lobelia, which hasn't bloomed yet, 
and a few tiny ferns with creeping Jenny. 



The living room window gets coral impatiens. 




Pots of both, for the canopy room we call the 'Summer House'. 

They all need some time to come into full bloom. 
A little bit difficult in this cool weather. 

I am loving the color. 



Ramblin' Man installed a fence 
 to keep Kai (and the grandchildren) 
in the back yard. 

We back up to wilderness...
Even though the 5 acres is completely fenced
with a 5 ft. fence,  
most of it is thickly forested and very steep. 


Kai inspects the fence line. 



Bleeding heart bloom nearby. 



The Mr. has also been tiling the shower in the master bath. 
This room has been unfinished for years and 
finally, now that he has been 'grounded' in retirement, 
he has time to finish all of his projects. 
(And grow a beard :)

He had a very demanding job as distribution manager 
for a regional snack food company. 
He had 9 managers and almost 200 distributors 
working under him and he traveled extensively 
to the 6 north-western states he oversaw.
(Including Alaska) 

I nick-named him 'Ramblin' Man' because of it. 
Now that he is not traveling any longer, 
I thought of changing his nick-name, 
but truth be told, I think he still deserves the name, 
although in a different way. 
Now that he is home all the time, with only me and Kai
as his companions, he tends to 'Ramble on'. 
He even talks to himself! 
I have to ask him whether he is talking to me or himself, sometimes! 




And so..., Ramblin' Man retains his title. 
He thinks that's hilarious, by the way. 
As he walks away, rambling....
Also, he is a very funny guy. 
He has a sunny disposition (most of the time), 
and keeps me laughing at the absurdities of life. 
We share the same sardonic sense of humor. 
  
We are just enjoying life and finding as much joy as we possibly can
 in this crazy world we live in.



Mother robin and her little one, searching for worms. 



A Junco nest in the overgrown, crooked bird-bath planter. 
We had to wait to install a section of fence nearby
until the nestlings had flown, so as not to disturb them.

One of them became the victim of the local garden snake. 
I heard a lot of bird drama one afternoon and went over to investigate
and saw the crime unfold. It was pretty horrifying, 
but I was too late to intervene. 

I did clip back all of the ivy that allowed the snake access, 
and the parents successfully raised the rest of the brood. 

I haven't seen the offending snake since, but that is 
nature and who am I to judge? 

When you live in the wilderness, the laws of nature rule the land. 



All this cool weather has me wanting to cook something 
to warm the insides. 

Broccoli-cheese soup and Irish brown bread is easy to make.
The bread freezes nicely (the recipe makes two loaves), 
and the soup tastes even better the next day. 
Just re-heat it very slowly on low heat.  

You can find the recipes under the heading, 'Soup' on my side-bar. 


After a dreary day, the sun finally sinks low enough below the clouds,
 to cast golden light on the foothills before setting. 

"Isn't it nice to think tomorrow is a new day
with no mistakes in it yet?

- Anne of Green Gables -

xx

Wishing you a wonderful tomorrow, Dear Friends, 
and many sweet blessings. 

xoxo









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